With dating scams taking the lead in conversations since Netflix’s Tinder Swindler, it has become apparent that many people keep falling prey to these swindlers. And unlike popular assumptions that Nigerians, especially Nigerian women, do not fall victim to the false stories of these predators, the numerous stories shared online, and offline prove to differ.
What’s even worse is that, unlike the old days where these scammers used fake profiles to con their victims, they have become even bolder, resorting to using their personal profiles and even meeting in person just like Simon Leviev.
How do you stay safe from these swindlers? Here’s your 101 guide to staying safe from dating scams as a Nigerian?
- If the relationship moves too fast: If you’re getting declarations of love just a few days/weeks before/after meeting, that should be a huge red flag.
Swindlers tend to move fast; they don’t want to give you time to catch up on their lies. So, they’ll tell you they love you, throw in some words about not meeting anyone like you to gain your trust.
For online conversations, one major red flag could be refusing video calls and choosing only specific times to call.
This is not to say that all early declarations of love are false and mere scams, but it wouldn’t hurt to have your guard up a little to avoid falling prey.
- They always ask for money: Everyone goes through a bit of financial trouble, but when your supposed ‘love’ always has some story cooked up to siphon some money off you, it’s time to second guess your relationship.
It’s also safe to keep track of what stories they tell and how much they ask for. Many times, liars tend to repeat their lies, forgetting some details as they repeat it.
If your ‘partner’ always has a sob story, something’s wrong, having their rent expire, medical expenses and emergencies, you should start looking into them.
Sometimes they might not ask for money directly; instead, they create scenarios like visiting you, asking for gifts to get you some money. And in many cases, they ask for a specific method of payment, asking for wire transfers, gift cards or high-end luxury items.
- If their profile seems too good to be true: If what you see looks too good to be true, it probably is. Pictures taken in exotic locations, shopping in high-end stores, generally a profile that looks programmed and robotic.
You should also second guess profiles that seemingly lack human touch, no hobbies, nothing about work, just living the good life in general, yeah! You should take a deeper look.
- If you never meet their friends/family:
While some swindlers might go the extra mile to create a fake life with fake family or friends, others cannot be bothered enough to create this falsehood.
So, if they always ask for money for family emergencies and you never meet the family, it’s time to ghost.
- Follow your intuition: Many times, following your conscience keeps one out of trouble. If the little voice in your head lets out a warning, listening to it might be the best decision you’ll make.
In our highly digitalised world, it takes only a few seconds for a potential swindler to find all they need to know about you. So, maybe try limiting your posts to only what you really want out in public. Post locations a few hours after you have left rather than while you’re there. And finally, always play it safe and do a deep dive to find out all you can about a potential interest to protect yourself from dating scams.